The revival of clip-in extensions

Want to change up your hairstyle but can’t quite commit to a full head of extensions? Clip-ins are a great alternative. Here's why.

Hair & Beauty

Who doesn’t love the idea of clip-in extensions? Stylish and convenient, they enable the hair obsessed among us to change up our look on a whim. So, if you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of clip-ins, your first port of call should be finding extensions that match your natural hair, or its current texture, as closely as possible.

Big Beautiful Hair Clip-Ins
Big Beautiful Hair Clip-Ins

Spell Beauty recently launched the Big Beautiful Hair range, comprising premium blend 100 per cent human hair clip-ins in a choice of textures - from corkscrew curls and coily ‘fro to kinky straight and kinky curl - to provide everyone with type 4 hair the perfect match.

The Feme Collection Afro Puff
The Feme Collection Afro Puff

Staying on the natural vibe, The Feme Collection Afro Puff will take your #bunlife to new levels. Trina Nicole, co-founder of CurltureUK, wore two puffs with a baseball cap, serving up effortless chic with aplomb. “It’s so easy to wear – I’m out the door in minutes,” she says, proving the expediency of clip-ins. The 100 per cent human hairpiece can be worn straight out the box or fluffed up to create more volume and texture.

Feme Bun
Feme Bun
The Feme Collection Ponytail

Alternatively, if you want to wear a classic ballerina bun, opt for the polished Feme Bun or go for full-on inches with The Feme Collection Ponytail that goes up to 36 inches. Either way, clip-ins will ensure that you never fall short on style. But when it comes to shopping the look, there are just a few things to bear in mind...

Find the perfect match

Clip-ins are pretty straightforward to install. They often come in a pre-installed formation, which consists of rows of extensions with a weft sewn in at the top and clips that you can attach to your natural hair. Celebrity stylist Kevin Shanti advises: “It’s crucial to ensure that your clip-ins match the texture of your hair. That’s rule 101. If you’re wearing it down, brush your own hair into the extension or for kinky curls fingercomb to get a seamless blend.” Always start by installing the shorter length wefts (five inches) at the nape and work your way up, adding the longer wefts to cover more of the head. A standard pack contains strip wefts (approximately three inches). These are to cover the sides or can be wrapped around the base of an updo. “If your hair is dense, go for thick wefted clip-ins,” says Kevin. “They’re fuller and have more strands.”

Decide on your finished look

One of the other main factors to consider when applying clip-ins is how dramatic you want your finished look to be. Are you going for big, bouncy and bold curls reminiscent of a Studio 54 disco queen? Or do you prefer just a subtle addition to what’s naturally yours by adding a little length and volume? Depending on the desired outcome, session stylist Michelle Thompson says she uses different types of extensions: “Synthetic hair is fine to wear for a one-off occasion. They come in a variety of colours and are much cheaper compared to human hair. But for longevity, your best bet is to invest in human hair.” Deciding how voluminous you want your hair to look will determine how many rows you will need to purchase. Typically, you will need to add three to four rows for a complete look, depending on the style.

Caring for your clip-ins

Clip-ins come in a variety of styles and textures from premium priced options made with human hair to more affordable versions made from synthetic materials. With human hair extensions, you’ll need to care for them in a similar way to how you look after your own hair. Every few weeks, rinse your extensions in cool water and use a mild cleanser like KeraCare Hydrating Shampoo to remove grime and product build-up. When washing the hair use gentle strokes in a downward motion along the lengths to prevent raising the cuticles. Follow with a conditioner like Herbal Essences Potent Aloe+ Bamboo Conditioner to keep the hair nourished and hydrated. Use a leavein product to minimise frizz, or for heat styling try Tangle Teezer and Design Essentials tailored extensions products to keep the hair looking healthy.

Don't pressure your hairline

As mentioned, clip-ins are a great way to add more volume and texture to your hair. However, they can add stress to the crown so it’s important not to become too reliant on them or you can risk damaging your own hair, particularly on the hairline. “Avoid clipping the hair to the same area to minimise damage,” advises Jimmy Campbell, owner of 305 Salon. And as tempting as it might be to crash out at bedtime wearing your extensions, we don’t recommend it. Not only could this potentially cause damage to your hair and scalp, but the extensions can become entangled - leading to even more damage. Similarly, try and refrain from over-wearing your clip-ins. “When you remove the clips, massage the scalp to improve the blood flow to the follicles,” adds Jimmy. “This is vital to keep your own hair healthy in the long-term.”

Feature image: Hair by Robert Eaton

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